Many Canadians were surprised this weekend to learn that a Conservative candidate has been a close friend of Faith Goldy.
Goldy is a far-right former fringe Toronto mayoral candidate and ex-Rebel Media commentator who's been banned from using Facebook for alleged hate speech.
She attracted intense criticism with her sympathetic coverage of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
Yesterday, Justina McCaffrey, the Conservative candidate in Kanata-Carleton, hopped into a car to elude answering a reporter's questions about her relationship with Goldy.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's response was covered on newscasts across the country—he insisted that he has nothing to do with Goldy.
The news story derailed the Conservative campaign for a day and reinforced a Liberal meme that Scheer has not properly vetted his candidates.
It's not as if there wasn't evidence that Faith Goldy might become an issue in the federal campaign.
Just last year when McCaffrey decided to seek the Conservative nomination, the satirical Ottawa-based Frank magazine published a lengthy article detailing how she and Goldy had created a video pitch for a reality TV show.
The article was entitled "Say Yes to the Mess! Justina McCaffrey gets her hustings on".
It included photos of McCaffrey with Conrad Black, former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, and, yes, Faith Goldy.
"So I have my girlfriend, Faith, who's wonderful," McCaffrey said in the video and which Frank quoted. "We hang out, have glasses of wine, martinis, spend some time with each other. She gives me ideas, we go out and meet eligible men."
According to Frank, McCaffrey promised the riding execs to keep Goldy at a distance during the election campaign. The video was made in 2013.
Frank referred to McCaffrey as a "professional air-kisser".
The site also included this amusing paragraph in its article:
"I have decided to dedicate the rest of my career to becoming a servant to the public," quoth Justina (and the walls of Frankland Capital Corp. shook with mirth.)
This weekend, McCaffrey issued a statement declaring that she hasn't talked to Goldy in years. (Photos of the two of them together were taken in early 2017.)
It turns out that the media sting on McCaffrey and Scheer wasn't the result of some extensive research by well-funded Liberal backroom operators.
It was right there in the open, courtesy of Frank magazine.
Of course, this raises questions about the competence of Scheer and his campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, the West Vancouver–raised former director of Rebel Media.
By allowing this to dominate media coverage of the Conservatives on one of the weekends in a short election campaign, the party has lost crucial time in getting its message out.
The video was only pulled down from YouTube after it was placed on media websites yesterday, including this one.
Conservative donors might want to wonder about that.
One of Marshall's most vocal critics has been Vancouver media commentator Sandy Garossino.
She's issued a series of tweets putting things on the record after Maclean's magazine published a soft feature about him.